Sometimes life can cause us to feel tangled up inside.
When we've got a difficult decision to make; when we're in a challenging situation that we can't figure our way out of; when we're overwhelmed with life; when we're in a conflict with someone we love.
This tangle can be uncomfortable at best, painful at worst.
In these situations, our instinct may be to try to work really hard trying to untangle the knot.
One day it occurred to me that I no longer knew how to answer when people asked, "how are you?"
I don't know when it happened exactly. All I know is that this ordinary, everyday question was quite literally stopping me in my tracks.
A friend or coworker who I hadn’t seen in a while would enthusiastically ask, “how are you?!” and I would become speechless (which if you know me, you know that's really saying something).
I would pause waiting for the right words to appear.
When I first started running, it was brutal.
Let's be honest, it still is. I am perpetually falling out of this habit. Every time I return after a long break, it feels almost as hard as it did when I started.
I never wanted to be a runner. I didn't understand why people would voluntarily subject themselves to this particular brand of torture.
Then one day, for reasons I don't fully understand, I wanted to try.
“Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.” -George Eliot
Recently I had to say goodbye.
Like many goodbyes, this one was made up of small and big goodbyes all tangled up into and born out of a single event.
I left my job as Dean of Students at East West College after six years.
As a social-worker-therapist-type-person, you might assume that I am comfortable "sitting with" painful, vulnerable and complex feelings.
If you assume this about me, you would be correct, and...I am still a human being!
Saying goodbye after six years, much less saying goodbye over and over again to many people, multiples times, over weeks and months was really tough.
It was uncomfortable and exhausting and hard, and it was a profoundly rich and sacred opportunity.
At some point in the midst of all of this, I had a thought...
fara tucker, lcsw
therapist~consultant~teacher in Portland, Oregon